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About Macao

About Macao - Past, Present & Future

Macao, the former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999 (prior to which was known as, "Macau"), is located less than an hour away from wealthy and densely-populated Hong Kong via a hydrofoil ferry system. Macao also has the advantage of sharing a border with China's Guangdong province, which has approximately 90 million residents and is considered one of the most prosperous regions of China. It is estimated that there are approximately 1.0 billion people within a three-hour flight from Macao (compared to 150 million within a three-hour flight from Las Vegas). And there are approximately 3.1 billion people within a five-hour flight from Macao.

Macao BridgeMacao is a special administrative region of China. It is the only location in China, and one of only a few locations throughout Asia, that permits casino gaming. One of the world's largest gaming markets with approximately USD $3.7 billion in gaming revenue in 2003, Macao is located in a highly-populated region of the world that we believe is currently underserved by its regional entertainment facilities. The government of Macao has expressed its goal of transforming Macao into the tourism destination of choice in Asia. The Chinese government has recently removed certain internal travel restrictions, allowing mainland Chinese from certain urban centers and economically developed regions to visit Macao without joining a tour group and has also recently increased the amount of renminbi (the Chinese currency) that Chinese citizens are permitted to bring into Macao. According to Moody's, the economy of Macao grew 15.6% in real terms in 2003. Moody's expects 2004 to be the third consecutive year of double-digit growth. Moody's reports that this growth is due mainly to the booming tourism industry.

"Nearly 15.2 million visitors arrived in Macao during 2004."

We expect tourism in Macao to continue to grow as the Chinese government continues to implement its policy of liberalizing historical restrictions on internal travel and currency movement. Nearly 15.2 million visitors arrived in Macao during 2004, according to the Macao Statistics and Census Service. We expect that these high visitation levels will drive the growth of Macao tourism and its hotel and casino market in the future.

Proximity to Major Cities

Macao at NightGaming customers from Hong Kong, southeast China, Taiwan and other locations in Asia can reach Macao in a relatively short period of time using a variety of methods of transportation. Visitors from more distant locations in Asia can take advantage of short travel times by air to Macao or to Hong Kong (followed by a short hydrofoil ferry or helicopter trip to Macao). Simply put, easy access from major population centers promotes Macao as a popular gaming destination in Asia. Macao completed construction of an international airport in 1995 that provides direct air service to many major cities and countries in Asia, such as Manila, Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok, Beijing and Shanghai. The Macao International Airport can accommodate large commercial airlines and has regularly scheduled air service to approximately 11 cities, including at least eight in China, with links to numerous other major Asian destinations.

Map of MacaoMacao draws a significant number of visitors from both tourists and residents of Hong Kong. One of the major methods of transportation to Macao from Hong Kong is the hydrofoil ferry service. Th e hydrofoil ferry offers service up to four times per hour, with trips to and from Macao taking under an hour. Macao is also accessible from Hong Kong by helicopter in approximately 20 minutes. In addition, two border crossings connecting Mainland China to Macao, the completion of a third bridge connecting Taipa to the Macao Peninsula and the likely construction of a bridge from Hong Kong and a high-speed rail link from Mainland China will further increase Macao's accessibility to travelers.

Entertainment Attractions

Macao fireworksThe development of additional entertainment venues, such as the USD $120 million "Fisherman's Wharf " retail/dining complex, is expected to draw more visitors to Macao. This is located on the Macao shorefront adjacent to the Sands Macao. Oriental Golf, a Taiwanese consortium, is near completion of a new 18-hole golf course in Cotai, adjacent to the Venetian Casino Resort Hotel Macao site. This promises to be an excellent addition to the Westin Resorts-operated golf course on Coloane, which has long been a popular weekend destination for Hong Kong golfers.

Sports Attractions

Macao will host the 2005 East Asian Games and the 2007 Asian Games. The government is constructing new athletic facilities for these purposes, including a fully-enclosed arena-the Macao Dome. It is expected that the 2005 East Asian Games, which will be televised throughout Asia, will raise the profile of Macao as a tourist destination. Following the East Asian Games, future plans for the Macao Dome include regular sporting events and tournaments, as well as music concerts that are unable to be held in Hong Kong Stadium due to stringent noise regulations. In addition, Macao holds the annual Macao Grand Prix in November, which draws automotive and motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world. The new Disneyland in Hong Kong, currently under construction, should also benefit Macao tourism by drawing additional visitors to the region.

The Cotai Strip

The Cotai Strip consists of 550 acres (or 220 hectares) of reclaimed land located between Macao's two islands-Coloane and Taipei. The Cotai Strip has been master-planned by the Macao Government as a world-class resort district to accommodate up to 20 hotel and casino properties containing up to 60,000 rooms, exhibition and conference facilities, theaters, showrooms, shopping malls, spas, world-class restaurants and entertainment facilities, as well as other attractions.

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